4 Tips for First-Year Teachers: Planning Ahead This Spring



It may be spring, but the end of year is a busy time and quickly approaching. I want to share with you 4 quick tips to help you plan ahead this spring and beat overwhelm. These forward-thinking tips are for you if you are seeking your first job, are already teaching but plan to apply for a different position, or are staying in your current teaching position.


1. Gather Student Samples

Start gathering samples now. If you wait until the last minute when the school year is wrapping up to try and collect student work samples and data, this is just one more thing added to your plate.


Make photocopies of student work or take photos of student projects before sending them home. Make sure you remove student information. Having samples of student work is super helpful to show during the interview process. You could upload the work and create a digital portfolio, or have paper copies handy.


Even if you plan to stay in the same school or grade level, there is a chance that you might change grades at the last minute or in the coming years, and having student examples from the current grade or subject you're teaching may come in handy several years down the road.


If you are finishing up your student teaching, ask your cooperating teacher for permission to make copies of work samples (student info removed). Be sure they are samples of work completed during lessons you gave or assigned. These work samples can help set you apart in an interview.


2. Take Photos

Take photos of student projects, your classroom set up, and ask permission to take photos of a colleague's room or set up you particularly like. You may see a great idea now, but trust me, it’s really hard to remember that great idea you planned to implement come fall.


3. Write Yourself Teaching Tips

I always try to jot down a few notes when I wrap up a unit or lesson. If there was something that went really well, or maybe a specific set of supplies that will need to be ordered in advance, or even things that didn't seem to work, I write these notes down on a sticky note that I attach to the lesson plan or add to my teacher manual. It's inevitable that you’ll forget the little things, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve circled back to a lesson and was forever grateful for the little notes I wrote myself.


I also write down teaching strategies or classroom management techniques that have worked well. This can be super helpful in the fall when school starts back up. Maybe it's a simple trick or strategy, but there have been plenty of times when a teacher mentions a tip or strategy that I had once implemented but forgot about.


4. Update Your Resume

Take time at the end of the school year (or in the spring) to update your resume. Even if you don’t plan to change positions, if you wait too long, you’ll likely forget some of the committees you’ve contributed to or specific experiences or skills you’ll want to include. Plus, you’ll save yourself so much time in the long run if you keep your resume updated each school year.


Have some helpful tips to contribute or looking to find a safe and helpful community of new teachers? Join the First Year Teacher Group on Facebook.


Looking for other helpful teaching tips? Check out these blog posts:

Staying the Course: When You Feel Like Giving Up

How to Batch Your Lessons and Get Ahead

How to Make Self Care a Priority: Tips for New Teachers